Statute of the World Conference: Arabic, English, French, German, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish
Composition of the Bureau of the World Conference
4th Congress, Vilnius, 2017
3rd Congress, Seoul, 2014
2nd Congress: Rio de Janeiro 2011
1st Congress: Cape Town 2009
With the accession of the Constitutional Court of Luxembourg, the World Conference on Constitutional Justice has 105 members !
Upon invitation by the Constitutional Court of Lithuania, the 4th Congress of the World Conference on "the Rule of Law and Constitutional Justice in the Modern World" will be held in in Vilnius, Republic of Lithuania, on 11-14 September 2017.
The World Conference on Constitutional Justice unites 105 Constitutional Courts and Councils and Supreme Courts in Africa, the Americas, Asia, Australia/Oceania and Europe. It promotes constitutional justice – understood as constitutional review including human rights case-law – as a key element for democracy, the protection of human rights and the rule of law (Article 1.2 of the Statute).
According to its Statute, the World Conference does not have a "President". It has three bodies, the General Assembly, the Bureau and the Secretariat. The General Assembly is chaired by the Host Court of the Congress. The next host is the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania. The presidency of the Bureau is ensured for one year by rotation between the groups. The Presidency of the Bureau is therefore not that of an individual Court but of a group of Courts. Since 21 September 2016, the presidency of the Bureau is exercised by the Conference of African Constitutional Jurisdictions. It is up to the groups to designate their representative.
The World Conference pursues its objectives through the organisation of regular congresses, by participating in regional conferences and seminars, by sharing experiences and case-law and by offering good services to members on their request (Article 1.2 of the Statute).
The main purpose of the World Conference is to facilitate judicial dialogue between constitutional judges on a global scale. Due to the obligation of judicial restraint, constitutional judges sometimes have little occasion to conduct a constructive dialogue on constitutional principles in their countries. The exchanges that take place between judges from various parts of the world in the World Conference furthers reflection on arguments, which promote the basic goals inherent to national constitutions. Even if these texts often differ substantially, discussion on the underlying constitutional concepts unites constitutional judges from various parts of the world committed to promoting constitutionality in their own country.
As these judges sometimes find themselves in situations of conflict with other state powers because of decisions they had to hand down based on the Constitution, being part of the World Conference provides them with a forum that not only allows them to exchange information freely with their peers, but where judges from other countries can also offer moral support. This can be important in upholding constitutional principles, which the judges are called upon to defend in their line of work.
The Courts and Councils, members of and committed to the principles of the World Conference may see their membership suspended by the General Assembly of the World Conference in case of flagrant violation of these principles.
The following Courts or Councils have given written notification about their accession to the Venice Commission, which acts as the Secretariat of the World Conference (status 17 February 2017):
1. Albania, Constitutional Court
2. Algeria, Constitutional Council
3. Andorra, Constitutional Court
4. Angola, Constitutional Court
5. Armenia, Constitutional Court
6. Australia, High Court
7. Austria, Constitutional Court
8. Azerbaijan, Constitutional Court
9. Bahrain, Constitutional Court
10. Belarus, Constitutional Court
11. Belgium, Constitutional Court
12. Benin, Constitutional Court
13. Bosnia and Herzegovina, Constitutional Court
14. Brazil, Federal Supreme Court
15. Bulgaria, Constitutional Court
16. Burkina Faso, Constitutional Council
17. Burundi, Constitutional Court
18. Cambodia, Constitutional Council
19. Cameroun, Supreme Court
20. Canada, Supreme Court
21. Cape Verde, Constitutional Court
22. Chad, Constitutional Council
23. Chile, Constitutional Court
24. Colombia, Constitutional Court
25. Comoros, Constitutional Court
26. Congo (Brazzaville), Constitutional Court
27. Congo, Democratic Republic, Constitutional Court
28. Costa Rica, Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court
29. Côte d'Ivoire, Constitutional Council
30. Croatia, Constitutional Court
31. Cyprus, Supreme Court
32. Czech Republic, Constitutional Court
33. Denmark, Supreme Court
34. Djibouti, Constitutional Council
35. Dominican Republic, Constitutional Court
36. Ecuador, Constitutional Court
37. Egypt, Supreme Constitutional Court
38. Estonia, Supreme Court
39. Finland, Supreme Administrative Court
40. France, Constitutional Council
41. Gabon, Constitutional Court
42. Georgia, Constitutional Court
43. Germany, Federal Constitutional Court
44. Ghana, Supreme Court
45. Guinea, Constitutional Court
46. Guinea-Bissau, Supreme Court of Justice
47. Hungary, Constitutional Court
48. Indonesia, Constitutional Court
49. Israel, Supreme Court
50. Italy, Constitutional Court
51. Jordan, Constitutional Court
52. Kazakhstan, Constitutional Council
53. Korea, Republic, Constitutional Court
54. Kosovo, Constitutional Court
55. Kuwait, Constitutional Court
56. Kyrgyzstan, Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court
57. Latvia, Constitutional Court
58. Lithuania, Constitutional Court
59. Lebanon, Constitutional Council
60. Luxembourg, Constitutional Courtnew
61. Macedonia, Constitutional Court
62. Madagascar, High Constitutional Court
63. Mali, Constitutional Court
64. Mauritania, Constitutional Council
65. Mauritius, Supreme Court
66. Mexico, Supreme Court
67. Mexico, Electoral Court of the Federal Judiciary
68. Moldova, Constitutional Court
69. Mongolia, Constitutional Court
70. Monaco, Supreme Court
71. Montenegro, Constitutional Court
72. Morocco, Constitutional Council
73. Mozambique, Constitutional Council
74. Namibia, Supreme Court new
75. Netherlands, Council of State
76. Netherlands, Supreme Court
77. Nicaragua, Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court
78. Niger, Constitutional Court
79. Norway, Supreme Court
80. Pakistan, Supreme Court
81. Peru, Constitutional Court
82. Poland, Constitutional Tribunal
83. Portugal, Constitutional Court
84. Romania, Constitutional Court
85. Russia, Constitutional Court
86. Samoa, Supreme Court
87. São Tomé and Príncipe, Supreme Court / Constitutional Court
88. Senegal, Constitutional Council
89. Serbia, Constitutional Court
90. Seychelles, Supreme Court
91. Slovakia, Constitutional Court
92. Slovenia, Constitutional Court
93. South Africa, Constitutional Court
94. Spain, Constitutional Court
95. Sweden, Supreme Administrative Court
96. Switzerland, Federal Court
97. Tajikistan, Constitutional Court
98. Tanzania, Court of Appeal
99. Thailand, Constitutional Court
100. Togo, Constitutional Court
101. Turkey, Constitutional Court
102. Uganda, Supreme Court
103. Ukraine, Constitutional Court
104. Uzbekistan, Constitutional Court
105. Zambia, Supreme Court
History of the World Conference:
Since 1996, the Venice Commission has established co-operation with a number of regional or language based groups of constitutional courts, in particular the Conference of European Constitutional Courts, the Association of Constitutional Courts using the French Language, the Southern African Judges Commission, the Conference of Constitutional Control Organs of Countries of New Democracy, the Association of Asian Constitutional Courts and Equivalent Institutions, the Union of Arab Constitutional Courts and Councils, the Ibero-American Conference of Constitutional Justice and the Conference of Constitutional Jurisdictions of Africa.
In pursuit of the goal of uniting these groups and their members, the Venice Commission had organised a Congress of the World Conference on Constitutional Justice for the first time, held in Cape Town, South Africa on 23-24 January 2009 and hosted by the Constitutional Court of South Africa. This event gathered 9 regional or linguistic groups and some 90 courts.
On the basis of a declaration adopted at this occasion, the Venice Commission assisted a Bureau in the establishment of the World Conference as a permanent body. At their first meeting in Mexico, in April 2009, the Bureau prepared a draft statute, which was discussed at other meetings of the Bureau on 12 December 2009 and 5 June 2010 in Venice together with questions of the organisation of a second Congress.
Eighty-eight Constitutional Courts, Constitutional Councils and Supreme Courts as well as the 10 regional and linguistic groups of courts from Africa, the Americas, Asia and Europe gathered for a second Congress of the World Conference on Constitutional Justice on the topic "Separation of Powers and Independence of Constitutional Courts and Equivalent Bodies". This event was hosted by the Federal Supreme Court of Brazil in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on 16-18 January 2011 in co-operation with the Venice Commission.
The draft statute was amended on this occasion and finally adopted at another meeting of the Bureau on 23 May 2011 on the occasion of the XVth Congress of the Conference of European Constitutional Courts.
With the accession of more than 30 Constitutional Courts, Constitutional Councils and Supreme Courts exercising constitutional justice, the Statute of the World Conference on Constitutional Justice entered into force on 24 September 2011.
The 3rd Congress of the World Conference on Constitutional Justice on the topic ‘Constitutional Justice and Social Integration’ was hosted by the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Korea on 28 September – 1 October 2014. The participants of the 3rd Congress of the World Conference on Constitutional Justice adopted the Seoul Communiqué.
The congress examined how constitutional courts have dealt with social integration and – in its absence – with social conflict. The participating judges were able to draw inspiration from the experience of their peers, whether from positive examples or from cases where the courts were unable to solve these issues.
In addition to the 1st General Assembly of the World Conference, a stock-taking exercise took place during the 3rd Congress on the independence of the constitutional courts.